There are obvious reasons green is good for business: Increased profits Lowered expenses New customers, new revenue streams Increased branding, etc.
However there are 2 other reasons that make getting money very compelling to pursue. It’s important to note that we’re not talking about getting 20 bucks to replace your light-bulbs. Think in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The reasons are:
1. The government wants to give money to ‘green’ companies. 2. Their definition of ‘green company’ is very loosely defined.
It’s #2 that’s most important to businesses right now. There is no national certification or designation to qualify a business as a green business. Here’s an example on a personal level:
To be an attorney, you need to graduate law school and pass the Bar. Those are the standard requirements that are part of the definition of ‘attorney’. I am an eco-consultant and green business strategist. Although I have several certifications (Energy Star Partner, Certified Green Building Professional, etc.) there isn’t a national test or designation for my line of work. Thus anyone can call themselves an ‘eco-consultant’, regardless of their experience or qualifications. Thus a grey area exists since a standard has not been set.
This grey area is one of tremendous opportunity to many businesses. If you are greening your business or committed to ‘green’ you might be able to take advantage of this current climate. In fact, there are rebate programs out there that let the customer decide how big the rebates should be and the terms. There are also programs that let customers submit a proposal to receive an incentive that isn’t offered yet. Here’s how that works:
Let’s say you run a printing business out of a small warehouse. A new printing press is invented that costs $300,000 but will reduce your energy use by 40% and your carbon footprint by 70%. You can petition your utility company and/or city to receive a rebate, tax credit or incentive to purchase that equipment. Because your city just received $50M for energy efficiency measures from the Obama administrations stimulus package, you could get a $250,000 tax credit or they may subsidize the purchase of the equipment.
So, how do you leverage this opportunity? Here are three places to start:
Contact your local utility and city offices and see what rebates/incentive programs they offer businesses in your area. Check out Recovery.gov to see how much money your city has received. I live and work in Encinitas, California (population 58,000) and we received $8,526,582 in stimulus funds. Determine what energy efficiency equipment or processes you need that would be best to petition for rebates/incentives.
This can be an arduous endeavor but the returns can be fantastic. You might be able to green your entire operation on Uncle Sam’s dime and increase revenues and positive branding in the process.